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J.C. SUPERSTAR

Ebony Flyer Horse
Ebony Flyer Horse

Ebony Flyer - South African Fillies Sprint (Grade 1)…

(Photo : Gold Circle)

Scottville’s Festival of Speed

26 May 2012

There were plenty of first-time racegoers at Scottville’s Festival of Speed, witnessing a feast of four Group One sprints. The sponsors, the Golden Horse Casino, which shares the racecourse complex, must’ve been delirious with the outcome, and there’ll be more than a few in the crowd who’ll be back for sure. Racing is meant to be fun, and it was.

But for the connoisseur, this isn’t how it’s meant to be. Track biases are sometimes figments of the mind, yet on an occasion which celebrates more Group One sprints down a straight 1200 metres on one day than any other in the world, it’s a pity one side of the course can sometimes be so much quicker than the other. Not a single outside (standside) drawn horse came home (in five 1200 events all told), despite the fact that in three of the five events all carried level (sex and age-adjusted) weights, and several of the best-credentialed runners occupied outside post positions. Nothing beyond the 11 slot even made the frame on the day, and as a result, we saw a hotch-potch of outcomes.

The two Juvenile divisions have been in disarray all season, and after the weekend, we’re no less confused. The “big one” of the day, the Golden Horse Sprint, is a handicap which by its nature, is designed to upset from time to time. While the victor, Delago Deluxe, is an obvious talent and already a Group One winner in the Juvenile colt’s race at the same meeting last year, he was nonetheless lightly treated at the weights with a modest 54 kgs on his back. What he certainly is though, is thoroughly happy back in the yard of former Champion trainer, Charles Laird. His form prior to his departure for the Cape last summer as well as this season, was in marked contrast to his sojourn in the Winelands. You can chalk this one down as a definite “Shark”, as opposed to the Western Cape’s local rugby franchise, the Stormers, who bit the dust against the Sharks in Durban the same evening.

One event on the card though, which lived up to every inch of its billing, was the South African Fillies Sprint, featuring two distaff superstars and one, Welwitchia, who had hinted at stardom when her trainer, Mike de Kock, suddenly relented to her being the sprinter her pedigree suggested she had to be. One of de Kock’s most disarming attributes is his candour when he gets things wrong, (yes, he does very occasionally) and he volunteered in the lead-up that he’d tried to make Welwitchia “stay” for too long. Those who saw her destruction of a quality field of colts on Champions Day a month back, were not only quickly converted to de Kock’s new-found faith, but most of us were fully expecting her to settle the superstars here as well.

For the record, the “glamour girls” in the line-up were the much-exalted Ebony Flyer (who counts a smashing victory over Horse of The Year, Igugu, among many highlights in a remarkable career thus far,) and the sensational Princess Victoria, queen of the Three-Year-Old division, whose only defeat in her past 8 visits to the races, came at the hands of Joey Ramsden’s Variety Club, one of the brightest milers we’ve seen in decades.

Both these deities enjoy cult status among the sports’ fans, and this was a day to savour. Princess Victoria’s well-being was advertised only a week ago, when Beach Beauty, among her vanquished last outing, produced the season’s most stirring “July” trial in the Astrapak 1900 (Gr.2). But “the Princess” was drawn 10 this time,  and that sadly tells the tale of a race in which she never threatened, even for a stride. So it was down to Mary Slack’s Welwitchia, whose sustained run from the rear looked to have it stitched up entering the final furlong, and Ebony Flyer, starting at (for her) the generous odds of 6/1. Yet, as good as Welwitchia absolutely is, she was mown down in a matter of strides by this Amazon of racing, flashing up this time in the emerald and red of Team Valor and Anant Singh, and adding another string to the bow of the already formidable band of females under the command of Gaynor Rupert’sDrakenstein Stud.

But hey, listen, this was no ordinary training feat. Justin Snaith has always said this filly was not just extraordinary, he claims she’s a freak, a statement Glen Kotzen has always reserved for Princess Victoria, too. She’d been off since winning the Gr.1 Majorca Stakes in January, she’d been under the knife, and this was supposed to be a “prep” for things to come. It wasn’t the script we’d have penned beforehand, but it went something like this:

Her jockey, Bernard Fayd’Herbe, isn’t exactly a born-again Christian, but his Mauritian ancestory guarantees he’s a good Catholic boy, with a sound reverence for his creator. As he entered that hallowed piece of turf they call the Winner’s Circle (on big days, on the track in front of the grandstand at Scottsville,) Fayd’Herbe cast his head heavenwards as most god-fearing sports people do these days, and as he’d been taught at his Catechism classes, he looked to “cross” himself in acknowledgment. Good natured cat-calls echoed from the boisterous throng pressing on the running rail. No one was doubting the power of the Lord, but it seemed that just about everyone in the crowd knew of another eternal truth. When it comes to racehorses, and especially Ebony Flyer, the initials to look for are J.S, not “J.C.”.

Best back that up in case we’re accused of a new form of blasphemy, such was Justin Snaith’s faith in this filly, whose “roaring” wind affliction is as well known at the Phillipi work track as stopwatches are, that he’d ordered a second wind “op” just a few months back. This performance must’ve been the “second coming”. But just to prove the Snaiths are as human as any of us, as the filly returned to scale, Justin and his brother Jonathan quickly flipped the switches to vaudeville. The winter sun played on their faces, and there were some who thought they’d seen a bit of moisture in their youthful eyes.

Editor:Ebony Flyer’s sire, Jet Master is arguably the best South African stallion of all time. Certainly, he has been the dominant stallion among what has undoubtedly been the most formidable assembly of stallions in living memory. Yet he was afflicted by “wind” issues so severely that his racing career (encompassing 8 Group One victories) was limited to races of 1600m or less. That he is known to share this problem with a good proportion of his progeny, tells us that with modern technology, when they’re good enough, “wind” is no longer a reason to decry an otherwise outstanding sire prospect.

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SHEA SHEA WINS GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT

Shea Shea wins the Golden Horse Casino Sprint
Shea Shea wins the Golden Horse Casino Sprint

Click above to watch Shea Shea winning the Golden Horse Casino Sprint (Gr1)

(Image : Gold Circle - Footage : Tellytrack)

GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT (Grade 1)

Scottsville, Turf, 1200m

28 May 2011

david thiselton
david thiselton

David Thiselton

Gold CircleThe Golden Horse Casino Sprint day at Scottsville was held in fine weather Saturday and was enjoyed by a festive crowd, while punters had a good day with fancied horses winning all four of the Grade 1 1200m features on the card. The penetrometer reading for the day was a good 22, but the inside draws appeared to hold an advantage.

The Geoff Woodruff-trained three-year-old National Emblem colt, Shea Shea, won the feature race, the Golden Horse Casino Sprint, a handicap race, under jockey Anthony Delpech, who, wary of horses diving for the inside, kept Shea Shea away from the rail and rode a patient race, delivering him late. He responded superbly and went past August Rush who had found the inside rail and finished a fine 0,75 length second. The bottom weight Polar Moon, drawn three, finished just 0,25 lengths further back in third. Winking Jack set the pace alone on the outside, hanging on for fourth ahead of Gaultier. The 13-20 favourite What A Winter took a bump early and from a draw of 11 was always going to battle to make up the ground.

Woodruff said the team had been left a bit deflated after the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint in which they were always chasing the lightning fast Val De Ra, before finishing third, but he revealed that Delpech believed Shea Shea would win the Golden Horse. Shea Shea is owned by Brian Joffe and Myron Berzack and was bred by Klawervlei Stud. The horse is named after Joffe’s grandson, Shea. Woodruff also won the Golden Horse two years ago with Earl Of Surrey.

GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT (Gr1)

Final Results

#

LBH

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

0.00

SHEA SHEA

58.0

110

4

A Delpech

Geoff Woodruff

2

0.75

AUGUST RUSH

57.0

105

6

B Fayd’Herbe

Neil Bruss

3

1.00

POLAR MOON

53.5

98

2

M V’Rensburg

Sean Tarry

4

1.10

WINKING JACK

56.0

103

13

G Lerena

Lance Wiid

5

2.35

GAULTIER

57.5

106

7

S Randolph

Mike Bass

6

2.85

WHAT A WINTER

59.5

113

10

K Neisius

Mike Bass

7

3.60

SPLASH GOLD

57.5

109

12

A Fortune

Dean Kannemeyer

8

4.10

BUSH PIRATE

57.5

106

9

G Hatt

Joey Ramsden

9

4.85

ELUSIVE RIVER (AUS)

54.0

102

5

A Marcus

Charles Laird

10

5.35

ARABIAN MIST

58.5

108

8

D David

Gary Alexander

11

5.60

RUSHING WIND

58.5

108

15

A Domeyer

Mike Bass

12

6.35

DANCE WITH AL

55.5

102

11

F Coetzee

Justin Snaith

13

7.10

RABATTACHE

60.0

111

3

I Sturgeon

Glen Puller

14

8.10

TWO TONE

58.0

107

1

* JP v’d Merwe

Mike Azzie

15

8.60

KAVANAGH

56.0

106

14

K Shea

Mike de Kock

16

14.85

GOOD THING

59.5

110

16

M Mienie

Wendy Whitehead

Extract from Gold Circle

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2010 GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT : VIDEO AND RESULTS

jj the jet plane 2010 golden horse casino sprint video
jj the jet plane 2010 golden horse casino sprint video

Click above to watch JJ The Jet Plane winning the Golden Horse Casino Sprint (Gr1)

(Photo : Gold Circle - Footage : Tellytrack)

JJ THE JET PLANE

R600,000 GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT (Grade 1)

Scottsville, 1200m, Turf

29 May 2010

#

LBH

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

0.00

JJ THE JET PLANE

58.0

114

6

P Strydom

Lucky Houdalakis

2

2.00

RUSHING WIND

52.5

103

15

*A Domeyer

Mike Bass

3

3.25

MOROCCAN (ZIM)

52.0

101

14

F Coetzee

Weiho Marwing

4

4.25

BLUE TIGER

57.0

112

5

B Fayd’Herbe

Mike Bass

5

5.00

TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)

60.0

118

16

S Randolph

Duncan Howells

6

5.25

IMPERIAL GESTURE

56.5

111

12

G Figueroa

Charles Laird

7

5.50

CAPTAIN SCOTT

53.5

105

2

B Smith

Alec Laird

8

5.75

CASEY COOL

55.0

108

13

G Schelchter

Darryl Hodgson

9

6.50

NOCTURNAL AFFAIR

52.0

104

1

M Yeni

Greg Ennion

10

6.75

MYTHICAL FLIGHT

56.0

110

11

J Geroudis

Sean Tarry

11

6.75

INTELLECTUAL

56.0

110

9

A Delpech

Herman Brown

12

7.75

WARM WHITE NIGHT

58.0

114

4

A Marcus

Charles Laird

13

7.80

RED FLYER

54.0

106

10

M Byleveld

Alistair Gordon

14

9.55

THUNDER KEY

56.5

111

7

B Lerena

Glen Kotzen

15

12.80

GAULTIER

55.5

109

3

K Neisius

Mike Bass

16

22.80

JAMAICAN DREAM

55.0

108

8

D David

Yogas Govender

BIG NAMES FOR GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT

golden horse casino sprint
golden horse casino sprint

Golden Horse Casino Sprint

(Photo : Gold Circle / Golden Horse Casino) 

GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT (Grade 1)

Scottsville, Turf, 1200m

29 May 2010 

david thiselton
david thiselton

David ThiseltonJJ The Jet Plane, one of South Africa’s most popular horses, will be travelling through the night on the eve of his attempt to become the first horse since Dambuster in 1984 to recapture the Golden Horse Casino Sprint crown at Scottsville on Saturday.

JJ, now back with his Vaal-based trainer Lucky Houdalakis, was unable to defend his crown last season as he was campaigning in England under Mike de Kock where he ran fourth and third in two Group 1 sprints at Royal Ascot and Newmarket respectively.

The former Equus Champion Sprinter by Champion Sire Jet Master had earlier won a place in the hearts of the horse-mad British public, partly due to a superb performance in winning a Listed race at Windsor and partly due to being the namesake of a popular children’s storybook character. JJ, who was purchased for a mere R70,000 due to his Charlie Chaplin-like front feet, had the first gallop after his overseas journeys only a few weeks ago and unseasonal rain has also hindered the efforts to get him fit in time. “He will not be at his peak,” said Houdalakis. “He is about 85% fit and all we can do his hold thumbs.” Houdalakis said earlier this month that only the race would tell whether he retained his former ability as he had never been a good work horse and always worked on his own. He was happy with his draw of six. JJ The Jet Plane will arrive at Scottsville on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, Duncan Howells said that topweight Tropical Empire’s preparation had gone very well and “more than according to plan”. He said the same for his unbeaten two-year-old filly Romantic Moon, who contests the Allan Robertson Championship. Tropical Empire, despite being a seven-year-old, produced a probable career best performance in the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m at Greyville in his last start and was unlucky in the Golden Horse two years ago when having to be snatched up at a time he was travelling very well. Howells said of his draw of seventeen, “It’s not good on paper, but I don’t want to go that route, it’s the way the cookie crumbles. I hope we have luck in running.” Howells said last week that he had done his job and would now leave it to jockey Stuart Randolph. He felt that his Silvano filly, Romantic Moon, could be something special. “She has never come off the bit,” he said. “She improved by a whole second in her last start and has improved again since.” Romantic Moon has won both her starts over the Scottsville 1200m course and distance of the Allan Robertson.

Alec Laird was a couple of hours away from Summerveld yesterday with his Golden Horse contender, Captain Scott. “We’ve come down earlier than normal as I want to get Jet Trail settled in before her run in the Woolavington,” he said. “Captain Scott didn’t enjoy the soft in the Champions Challenge. It’s not ideal coming down from 2,000m to a sprint. But he’s showed us speed before and we’re putting half-cup blinkers on too. “We’re hoping for a surprise. If Moroccan is fancied he must have a chance.” Captain Scott finished just 0,5 lengths behind Moroccan at level weights in an Allowance Plate over 1 160m at Turffontein in February and the latter went on to win the Grade 2 Senor Santa over that same course and distance. However, Captain Scott will now have to give Moroccan 1,5kg.

Moroccan, could make it two in a row for Zimbabwean-breds in the Golden Horse. He is a four-year-old by Kitalpha and has won five of his last six starts. Trainer Weiho Marwing said he was “fit and well” and would be travelling down on Friday.

Yogas Govender’sJamaican Dream drops down in trip and the yard said that a line could be drawn through his last start when finishing last in the Drill Hall. Byron Forster, the yard’s Summerveld assistant trainer, said, “That last start was all wrong, he bolted down to the start. The stiff 1200m should suit him. We are hoping that he gets run off his feet early as he is a keen sort and that will help him settle. “He is drawn in eight which will give him the option of going left or right. There is some speed around him which will help.”

Extract from Gold Circle

FINAL FIELD

#

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)

60.0

118

17

S Randolph

Duncan Howells

2

JJ THE JET PLANE

58.0

114

6

P Strydom

Lucky Houdalakis

3

WARM WHITE NIGHT

58.0

114

4

A Marcus

Charles Laird

4

BLUE TIGER

57.0

112

5

B Fayd’Herbe

Mike Bass

5

IMPERIAL GESTURE

56.5

111

12

G Figueroa

Charles Laird

6

THUNDER KEY

56.5

111

7

B Lerena

Glen Kotzen

7

INTELLECTUAL

56.0

110

9

A Delpech

Herman Brown

8

MYTHICAL FLIGHT

56.0

110

11

J Geroudis

Sean Tarry

9

GAULTIER

55.5

109

3

K Neisius

Mike Bass

10

CASEY COOL

55.0

108

14

G Schlechter

Darryl Hodgson

11

JAMAICAN DREAM

55.0

108

8

D David

Yogas Govender

12

RED FLYER

54.0

106

10

M Byleveld

Alistair Gordon

13

CAPTAIN SCOTT

53.5

105

2

B Smith

Alec Laird

14

RUSHING WIND

52.5

103

16

*A Domeyer

Mike Bass

15

NOCTURNAL AFFAIR

52.0

101

1

R Danielson

Greg Ennion

16

MOROCCAN (ZIM)

52.0

101

15

F Coetzee

Weiho Marwing

Reserve Runner

17

CLEARLY SILVER

52.0

101

13

Reserve 1

Dennis Drier

THE FESTIVAL OF SPEED

Thunder Key
(Photo : Gold Circle)

As a country with something of an obsession for speed, the South African racing calendar honours our sprinting talent on a regular basis. No gathering of the nation’s best sprinters however, expresses this more forcibly than the Festival Of Speed, a four race bonanza of Grade One events scheduled for this weekend. The top event on the card is always the Golden Horse Casino Sprint, which has been thrown open this year by the early retirement of Summerhill-bred, Rebel King, and his stable companion, Warm White Night. Nonetheless, the farm is represented by Pegasus Emblem, bred and raised here for our long-serving patrons, Malcolm Wishart and Luigi Cirigiliano, while Muhtafal has the game winner of his last start, Thunder Key, under starter’s orders.

While the betting for the S.A. Fillies’ Sprint is likely to be dominated by Charles Laird’s Merlene de Largo (four wins from five starts to date), Bruce Gardiner and Co’s Lisa Anne (Summerhill-bred by the late lamented Rambo Dancer) makes her Grade One debut for the Alexander stable under the capable tutelage of Kevin Shea. Also in the field (and not without a squeak) is Anthony Delpech’s mount, Noble Heir (by Kahal), a promising second to Moccachino in Gauteng’s Camellia Stakes just over a month ago.

Kahal’s loss is Malhub’s gain:

Rare for a race in which we’ve supplied two of the last three winners, we are without a runner in the Gold Reef Medallion (for two-year-colts). The field is packed with the progeny of the first season sire, Var, and two interesting runners by leading Australian sires, Redoute’s Choice and Exceed and Excel for Mike de Kock and Charles Laird respectively. The form here is not that well exposed, and the winner could come from any quarter.

Turning to the subject of our headline, ‘Kahal’s loss is Malhub’s gain’, the Alan Robertson Fillies Championship (for Juvenile Fillies) has been robbed of its one star attraction in the form of Kahal’s daughter, Spring Clover, widely touted as the top juvenile filly in the country. This does however open the race to a number of possibilities, and a strong claim can be made for Malhub’s talented daughters, Ashjaan (bred at Summerhill for Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud), who was just a length and a quarter behind Spring Clover in their last meeting, and the unbeaten Onehundredacrewood, both graduates of the Summerhill draft at last November’s Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run, where they cost R190 000 and R85 000 respectively.

We’d have to concede that for a horse of his own world-class, Malhub’s first crop was something of a disappointment to us, but he has more than made up for it with his second crop of juveniles, in much the same way as our standard-bearer Northern Guest, did in his time. Three of Malhub’s 2009 models have already earned Black type, and the fourth (Onehundredacrewood), is thus far unbeaten.

By Monday morning, it’s possible Malhub might’ve ascended back to the heights of that memorable day at Royal Ascot, when he got to meet The Queen after slaughtering the champions Johannesburg and Invincible Sprit in the Golden Jubilee Sprint (Gr.1).